One thing I saw today, and naming no names, was someone questioning why the Tories stepped up the ‘Jeremy Corbyn is an evil terrorist sympathiser’ over the weekend when we’re still so far from polling day. Were they concerned that Labour were doing better than they thought and hitting the panic button early? On the face of it, doing something like that with over three weeks to go until polling day would seem a little over the top, except it’s not three weeks until polling day.
Sure, we’re all waiting for June 8th, but the first votes in this election will be cast in about a week’s time as that’s when the postal votes will be dispatched and a lot of them will be filled in and sent back straight away. In 2015, about one-sixth of the electorate were registered for postal votes, and they were an even larger share of actual voters because they turn out (or post in) at a higher rate than people at polling stations. Consider how many seats have majorities that are less than one-sixth of all voters and you’ll realise just how crucial it is to get as many key messages as possible out before the postal votes do.
And let’s face it, being able to cast your vote and then forget about anything election-related until the results start coming in does have a certain appeal.
Theresa May’s finally been allowed out to meet real people, but as well as wondering how much play it will get in the media, it’s worth noting where it happened. One of the signs in 2015 that the Tory polling was showing them making big gains in Lib Dem-held seats was that David Cameron and George Osborne started doing campaign visits to seat like Yeovil which weren’t considered under threat, but toppled with the other yellow dominoes on election night. This time, though, May’s not out in a seat the Conservstives are hoping to gain, but in Abingdon, part of the Oxford West and Abingdon seat they took from the Liberal Democrats in 2010 and held in 2015. Now, it could be Tory strategists feeling it’s so safe it’s OK to send her out in public there, but it might also be an indication tht there are shifts going on beneath the headline polling that could lead to some interesting results on election night.
And if you can predict where all those shifts are going to go, don’t forget my prediction competition.
And another plea: please upload any leaflets you get to Election Leaflets, because I’m seriously running out of material for Election Leaflet Of The Day as there’s not much fresh going up there. (It also provides a good resource for other people as well, if you’re not so keen on helping me) So, for today we have a leaflet from a former party leader challenging for a seat in Sheffield. Not the one you might be thinking of, it’s the Greens’ Natalie Bennett who’s asking voters to make her ‘the North’s first Green MP’. I guess ‘the first Green MP for anywhere outside Brighton’* was a bit too unwieldy to fit. Still, nice to see the ‘leaflet that can also be used a window poster’ design still being in use.
*If you want to argue about the precise status of Cynog Dafis, the comments are open.
Originally published at www.nickbarlow.com on May 15, 2017.